FIX: Thumbnails are not showing in Windows 11.
Thumbnail previews play an important role in helping you identify content in image and video files. However, Windows 11 and Windows 10 may stop displaying them for several reasons. Older versions of the operating system also had the same problem.
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In most cases, you will see empty thumbnails due to misconfigured File Explorer (formerly known as Windows Explorer) settings or a corrupted thumbnail cache. But on rare occasions, you may encounter something as serious as a malware infection.
Please fix the following fixes to display all thumbnails as soon as possible on Windows 11 and 10.
Note. By default, Windows 11 cannot display thumbnails for folders. Therefore, the following fixes only affect file previews on the latest Microsoft operating system.
Check Folder View Options
Your first course of action is to check if Windows 11 or Windows 10 is configured to display thumbnails in File Explorer. You can do this in the Explorer Options dialog box.
1. Select the icon or search box on the taskbar and enter the file explorer options.
2. Select “Open”.
3. Click the View tab
4. Clear the Always Show Icons, Not Thumbnails check box.
5. Select Apply, then OK.
If you needed to activate the option in step 4, the explorer should immediately generate sketches. If you didn’t need to do anything, start fixing the rest.
Force-Restart File Explorer
The conductor can also fail for no reason and stop working properly. The quickest way to fix this is to restart it using the task manager.
1. Press Shift + Ctrl + Esc to open the Task Manager.
2. Select Details (if necessary) to expand the default Task Manager view.
3. On the Processes tab, find and select Windows Explorer.
4. Click the “Restart” button to restart the explorer.
5. Close the task manager.
If pictures or videos (and folders in Windows 10) are still empty, try restarting your operating system instead.
Delete Thumbnail Cache
If the thumbnails are still not showing, then you are most likely dealing with a corrupted thumbnail cache. Removing it helps Explorer to re-create the preview from scratch.
1. Open the “Start” menu and select “Settings”.
2. Select System> Storage.
3. Select temporary files.
4. Check the box next to the thumbnails and select Delete files.
5. Restart your computer.
Delete Thumbnail Cache (Alternate Method)
If you’re having trouble deleting thumbnail cache using storage settings in Windows 11 or Windows 10, try this alternative method using the legacy Disk Cleanup app.
1. Press Windows + R to open the Run window.
2. Enter cleanmgr and click OK.
3. Check the box next to the thumbnails.
4. Select “OK”.
Restore File Explorer Defaults
Restoring File Explorer View Settings to their defaults can also resolve issues preventing thumbnails from displaying correctly in Windows 11 and 10.
1. Find and open the File Explorer Options dialog box.
2. Click the “View” tab.
3. Select “Restore Default Settings”.
4. Select “Apply” then “OK”.
Revert Default Application
Is the problem limited to a specific image or video format? This could be caused by installing another default program. Try configuring it to open in Microsoft’s own app.
1. Right-click any file in the file format and select Open With.
2. Select “Choose another application”.
3. Select your own application, such as Photos (for pictures) or Movies (for videos).
4. Check the box next to “Always use this app to open files.”
5. Select “OK”.
Install the Relevant Codecs
Conversely, images and video files that are not supported by Windows may not display thumbnail previews. You can try to fix this by installing the appropriate codecs.
For example, the default HEIC image format for iPhone will not display thumbnails on Windows unless you install the HEIC image extensions.
On the other hand, the K-Lite Codec Pack can help you with unusual video formats.
Update the Graphics Drivers
Outdated graphics drivers cause performance issues and prevent various Windows features (such as thumbnail previews) from working properly. Visit the website of your graphics card manufacturer (such as NVIDIA or AMD) for a newer driver, or use the free driver updater to update everything.
It is also recommended that you check Windows Update for display driver updates verified by Microsoft.
1. Open the Settings app.
2. Select Windows Update.
3. Select Check for Updates. After Windows Update finishes scanning for updates, select Advanced options. On Windows 10, select View additional updates instead and skip the next step.
4. Select “Optional Updates”.
5. Select driver updates for your displays and select Download and Install.
While you are doing this, we also recommend that you install the latest updates for Windows itself. They usually contain bug fixes for system functions and can help fix File Explorer problems permanently.
Run an SFC Scan
Try running a scan with the System File Checker tool. It is a command line tool that helps resolve possible file corruption issues in Windows 11 and 10.
1. Press Windows + X and select Windows Terminal (Admin) or Windows PowerShell (Terminal).
2. Enter the following command:
sfc / scannow
3. Press Enter.
The SFC scan usually takes a while. If you can find and fix the issues, you can continue by running the DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management) tool.
Run Anti-Malware Scan
If the issue with sketches not displaying persists or recurs, you may be dealing with wire grabber software. Use Windows security to thoroughly scan your PC for malware.
1. Find and open Windows Security.
2. Select Virus & threat protection.
3. Scroll down to the Virus & Threat Protection Settings section and install any pending antimalware definitions. Then scroll back and select Scan Options.
4. Set the switch to the Full Check position.
5. Select Scan Now.
Alternatively, you can use a dedicated malware removal tool like Malwarebytes to find and remove dangerous forms of malware.
File Explorer Displaying Thumbnail Previews Again
If you work with images and videos, thumbnail previews are essential. Hope the above solutions helped and the explorer got back to displaying them correctly. This is an important feature that will be worth your time fixing. If the problem persists (which it may well be), just follow the above fixes and you should be fine.
FIX: Thumbnails are not showing in Windows 11
FIX: Thumbnails are not showing in Windows 11